General Yu Dayou 俞大猷 (1503AD – 1579AD) was a Chinese General and Martial Artist best known for countering the Wokou 倭寇 pirates along China's southeastern coast during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor 嘉靖 (1521AD - 1567AD) in the Ming Dynasty 明朝.
In 1555AD, General Yu Dayou led Ming forces to attack the Wokou pirates who were raiding near Zhejiang 浙江 and defeated about 2,000 of them. In the following year, he was promoted to garrison commander of Zhejiang and was ordered to eliminate the Wokou threat. He led Ming forces to attack the Wokou base in Zhoushan in northeastern Zhejiang. In 1562AD, General Yu Dayou was reassigned to serve as the garrison commander of Fujian 福建. In the following year, he joined Qi Jiguang 戚继光 and other Ming generals in attacking the Wokou at Putian 莆田 and successfully seized back the city from the enemy. By 1566AD, most of the Wokou who had terrorised China's southeastern coast had been largely driven away.
General Yu Dayou was known for being an honest and upright official but in his later years he was being framed on false charges and imprisoned by the Ming Court. Although he was saved by Qi Jiguang and Hu Zongxian, he nonetheless felt disappointed with political corruption within the Ming government and died in frustration.
General Yu Dayou was not only a famous Chinese General, he was also a well-known Martial Artist. According to the historical records of Shaolin Temple 少林寺, Shaolin Temple had sent out its best Warrior Monks 武僧 to join forces with the Ming Military to fight against the Wokou pirates and many of its top Staff Pole 棍法 warrior monks had lost their lives in battle. After a visit to the Shaolin Temple in 1561AD, General Yu Dayou offered to help the Shaolin Abbot train a few of his warrior monks into accomplished staff pole practitioners and they in turn could train the other warrior monks.
General Yu Dayou selected two promising young warrior monks under his tutelage, Zong Qing 宗擎 and Pu Cong 普从, for three years in an effort to improve their pole/staff combat ability. Zong Qing and Pu Cong learned well from General Yu Dayou and they also served in his forces. When they returned to the Shaoiln Temple they trained hundreds of Shaolin warrior monks in General Yu Dayou's staff pole combat methods. Hence, today General Yu Dayou's Pole Methods or Yu Family Pole Methods 俞家棍 continued to live on in the training grounds of Shaolin Temple.
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